Certification creates trust and political will enhances implementation

Due to a growing demand on crops and vegetables for the food industry, farmers used mineral fertilisers to ensure stable quantities. Mineral fertilisers are based on non-renewable resources that are mined and imported from mostly unstable regions. To ensure Europe’s demand on food, farmers have to change to renewable and sustainable fertilizing practices. Tailor made recycled-derived fertilisers have a high impact on arable crops. These fertilisers are organic and produced from renewable resources.

The ReNu2Farm representative survey shows that 75 percent of farmers that have used recycled-derived fertilisers had a positive or very positive experience. For the user of recycled-derived fertilisers (RDF) is a stable quality important. Therefore, certification is needed for the products. Certification schemes define and ensure quality standards and will enhance the consistency of the product properties. Additionally, it will help to build up costumer trust and strengthen the confidence in recycled-derived fertilisers. Common certificates for recycled-derived fertilisers are only regional usable.

A cross-national certification scheme is not implemented yet. But newly the European Commission has introduced the CE certification scheme for organic and recycled-derived fertilizing products. In June 2019, the regulation 2019/1009 lays down rules on making available on the market of EU fertilising products. However, this regulation helps to introduce harmonised EU rules for products made of organic waste. It creates access to the CE making and supports the thought of free trade of recycled-derived fertilisers across EU, even though restrictions on national markets may still exist.

Besides a certification scheme, it is important to create a broad social awareness that is lead by a strong political will. Longterm political goals and everyday life decisions should be coherent. Sweden for example has set a national food strategy which can accelerate the use of RDFs: until the year 2030, 30 % of the Swedish agricultural land should be organic farmland and 60 % of public food consumption shall consist of organic products (Caroline Steinwig 2019). These approaches imply an enhanced utilisation of RDFs and could be exemplary for other member states to adapt policy and legislation more trans-sectorally.

In the Interreg North-West Europe project ReNu2Farm researchers accelerate broad social awareness of RDFs and develop responding certification schemes to ensure quality standards in order to make RDFs available on regional markets (market entrance strategies).

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